Three weeks before Christmas and it’s 82 degrees. And while that’s a perfect temperature for winter motorsickle riding, it sure screws with hunting for whitetail—just too hot for them to be up, moving ’round and stepping into my crosshairs. So instead of bragging about all my venison sausage conquests, I guess we’ll have to concentrate on riding. And that’s one of the great things about Texas: in the Lone Star State motorsickle riding is pretty much a year-round activity. In the December issue, you may have seen my photos covering the big blowout in South Padre Island (SPI BikeFest). Yep, that South Texas Shine photo byline is also the same Shine writing this column. So while hanging with my Mexican brethren along the border, I had the opportunity to meet Stratton Murphy, president and owner of Desperado Harley-Davidson in McAllen. Great guy, but an individual I knew was wrestling with a major issue—his shop’s name. Jeff Nicklus is the founder and chief instigator of mayhem for Desperado Custom Motorcycles in The Woodlands. And he’s owned the Desperado name since the early ’90s. So to avoid a dust-up, Jeff has licensed the use of the Desperado moniker to the Harley dealership, who will now also become an official Desperado Custom Motorcycles Service Center… On November 2–4, the Ultimate Builder Bike Show in Atlanta saw a Texas boy take top honors. Kyle Shorey from Shadetree Fabrications in Dallas not only won first place in the Freestyle Class for his bike named Speedmetal, but backed that up with a second-place win in the same class for his bike “Black Betty,” along with $2,500 in cash. Damn good job… November 10 was the date set for the 4th annual Biker Beerfest held at Strokers Dallas. Owner Rick Fairless was once again inviting some of the best brewers in the state to ply their trade with the two-wheel crowd from noon until 6 that evening. For a mere $10, you received a commemorative Strokers red Solo drinking cup, six drink tickets and live music. Samples were available from the Real Ale Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada, Saint Arnold’s, Ace Cider, the Craft Brewers Alliance and others… That same day in Mercedes, the Hispanic Heritage Fiesta held a Poker Run. Sponsored in part by the SPI BikeFest, the day at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Grounds included an afternoon of field events… Received a big thank you from Red Roberts concerning the Labor Day All-Harley Drags article that we published in the November issue. He said the piece provided fine ammunition on keeping a fire lit under everyone involved in his new double-Shovel drag bike project. He’s looking at a February rollout date for some shakedown runs to hammer out the bugs on the twin 93″ engine combination. And then plans are to offer the AA/VF division for the first time as a competitive class (AA = double engine, VF = Vintage Fuel) during the Texas Hot Rod Reunion Drags, April 26–27 at Little River Dragstrip. Red said the interest level is high and that an original twin engine Triumph from 1953 (!) is currently being resurrected in Louisiana for the event. So it should be a double-your-pleasure, double-your-fun kinda spring… The Fort Hood Texas H.O.G. chapter kickstarted the holidays with their 17th annual Bell County Toy Run on November 18. Registration that Sunday began with an opening ceremony at Fort Hood Harley-Davidson with kickstands up at noon. The Run ended at the Mayborn Center with door prizes and entertainment. The event benefitted the First Command Package Brigade and the Stillhouse VFD… The Blue Santa Toy Run was held November 24 in support of the Beaumont Police Department Blue Santa Program. After a bike blessing that morning, the bike parade left Cavender’s Boot City in Beaumont for an escorted ride to Cowboy Harley-Davidson. The remainder of the day included music, door prizes, a silent auction and raffle, and photos with Santa… And mark your calendars for January 27–28 for Legislative Weekend 2013 being held in Austin. Sponsored each year by the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association, Texas ABATE and the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents, Sunday’s activities include a workshop and a COC&I meeting. Monday morning there will be a ride to the Capitol at 10 to meet with your elected officials concerning Texas motorcycle rights. (Please note that the Texas Capitol has tightened its security procedures and metal detectors will be in use. No weapons of any kind are allowed.) So get involved and show your support—freedom, and that very cool right to ride helmetless, is not free.